Polymedia helps mum on a mission

Polymedia helped raise the profile of fundraiser Shadi Ganjavian-Connor as she played her part in a £2m bid to raise money for the Murray Parish Trust.

We were brought on board to support Shadi's mission to climb the 14,692ft Matterhorn, with a brief to help attract sponsorship from individuals and businesses by securing media coverage for her efforts.

Shadi, from Chandlers Ford, Hampshire, was contributing to a wider campaign to reach the £2m target in aid of a dedicated children's A&E department at Southampton General Hospital.

Polymedia secured coverage for Shadi in target publications including two feature spreads in Southampton's Daily Echo, a news feature on BBC Radio Solent, which went on to feature regular updates about her progress, and That's Solent TV.

The Swiss peak is widely acknowledged as one of the most difficult ascents in the world, with only one in five climbers making the summit and a number of tragic deaths over the decades.

But Shadi, who admitted before the challange that she was so scared of heights she would not go to the top of Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower, was determined to help after being inspired by the work of the Murray Parish Trust.

The charity was set up by Hampshire celebrity couple James Murray and Sarah Parish, who have raised thousands of pounds for Southampton General since their late daughter Ella-Jayne was treated there in 2009.

Shadi heard about the Murray Parish Trust through friends and, after researching the project, was compelled to help.

The 42-year-old, who works in marketing, said: “When I researched the project and saw the scale of it, I was so impressed and knew I had to help.

“They are creating all these little private spaces for the children and will be taking children from nine counties.

“I think children deserve their own dedicated A&E department, not only for the benefits of specialist healthcare, but I also think it could be quite distressing for youngsters to experience everything that goes on in a busy adult A&E ward.

“It blows my mind how big Southampton hospital is and how fortunate we are to have it on our doorstep.

“I’ve done a lot of challenges, like marathons, half-marathons, Tough Mudders, but nothing like this."

Shadi rallied the support of local businesses to support her charity climb and stressed that her charity bid would not be possible without the support of family, friends and supporters.

England football legend Kevin Keegan offered to pay for the trip after hearing of Shadi’s challenge. Shadi was delighted with the offer, but wanted to pay for the trip herself and instead Kevin has donated to The Murray Parish Trust. The pair met at a charity ball for Surrey-based charity The Knights Foundation, which helps carers and families managing disabilities. Shadi gave a small presentation about her Matterhorn challenge to the audience, which included Kevin.

Shadi put in hours of training, including climbing with ropes in Snowdonia and practising on the climbing walls at the Golden Gecko Centre in Romsey.

She completed the climb to the summit with renowned mountaineer Stuart MacDonald in July 2017.

Explaining more about why she wanted to help Southampton hospital, Shadi said: “Your biggest and most important asset is your health.

“Unfortunately, it can be quite depressing when you go to a hospital, so if you can help raise funds to make things a little bit easier for families, it can only be a good thing.

“It must be so incredibly hard to have a child in a hospital and see them sick.”


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